UKERC Energy Data Centre: ETI Publications

Transportable Storage - Techno-economic Evaluation of Transportable Energy Storage Final Report

Citation Hull, L., Gillie, M.,Dudek, E., Irvine, J., Clarke, R., Cruden, A., and Houghton, T. Transportable Storage - Techno-economic Evaluation of Transportable Energy Storage Final Report, ETI, 2011.
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Author(s) Hull, L., Gillie, M.,Dudek, E., Irvine, J., Clarke, R., Cruden, A., and Houghton, T.
Project partner(s) EA Technology
Publisher ETI
Download ESD_EN2010_3.pdf document type
Abstract With increasing utilisation of renewable energy sources there are many cases where the ability to site generation within easy reach of demand becomes more limited. In these situations, how the energy is moved from where it is generated to where it is needed becomes a more critical aspect of the overall energy system. More remote locations are more costly to connect to transmission lines, be they electricity networks or pipelines. At the same time the intermittency of renewable energy sources places a greater emphasis on the use of energy storage to balance the different variations in supply and demand over time. Transporting stored energy is one possible way to address both of these concerns simultaneously.

Options for transferring energy from one location to another can be classified into one of the following two options:
  • The direct and immediate transfer of energy tothe point where it will be used via electricity networks or pipelines, i.e. transmission; or
  • The generation and storage of energy in a mobile device that can be transported further down the supply chain where it can either be used continuously or intermittently as required, i.e. a transportable energy solution.
A wide range of potential storage media were considered in terms of their suitability for transporting energy from the remote generation sites. Preliminary assessment of the technical suitability led to the selection of the following candidate storage media:
  • hydrogen;
  • hydrocarbons produced via the Fischer-Tropsch process;
  • ammonia;
  • zinc air batteries; and
  • aluminium.
The results of this study indicate that, for the three generation sites considered, transmission represents the least cost option where the electricitycan be used directly. It is, therefore recommended that the ETI focuses on the development of DC Transmission technology; improving efficiencies and lifetime of AC to DC converters and reducing costs.

The chemical energy carriers do, however, compare favourably with electricity transmission where they can be used directly for example for transport fuels or heating fuels. They also have the potential to provide a viable alternative to transmission and battery storage for matching fluctuations in demand.

Therefore, it is recommended that the ETI also considers developing hydrogen and hydrocarbon fuels as alternatives to electricity for transport end uses, and for providing peak load and seasonable storage. It is recommended that the ETI consider investing in a demonstration project concerning renewable base hydrogen production, storage and re-use (both for use as atransport fuel and potentially for reconversion via a fuel cell to grid electricity).
Associated Project(s) ETI-EN2010: Transportable Energy Storage (FRP)
Associated Dataset(s) No associated datasets
Associated Publication(s)

Transportable Storage - Executive Overview

Transportable Storage - One Page Summary

Transportable Storage - Request for Proposal